An Israeli legal rights group has said it is suing two New Zealanders for allegedly convincing the pop singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel in what appears to be the first lawsuit filed under an Israeli anti-boycott law.
In 2011, the Israeli Knesset passed a law allowing civil litigation by anyone who can claim economic harm from a boycott against Israel, any of its institutions, or an area under Israeli control, the N.Y Times reported.
The suit, demands 45,000 Israeli shekels, or about $13,200, on behalf of three Israeli teenagers who had bought tickets for the concert. It demands payment not from the singer, but from the authors of the letter who convinced the pop singer Lorde to cancel her concert, The N.Y Times reported.
Lorde said in December that she would perform in Israel but later cancelled her show in Tel Aviv after criticism from international and New Zealand activists, saying she “didn’t make the right call”.
“I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde said when announcing the cancellation of her June 5 performance.
The suit was filed by Shurat Hadin, an NGO that says it is “using court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies”, based on legislation from 2011 against calls to boycott Israel.
“We hope that the court will implement the law and rule damages to the plaintiffs, so boycott activists will know there’s a price to any article or incitement against Israeli citizens,” the group’s director and head of the lawsuit, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said.
“There is also the national side to the lawsuit. As citizens of this country, as citizens who will next year serve this country in the military or civil service, they were hurt from the B.D.S. movement”, The N.Y Times reported Darshan-Leitner as also stating.
Justine Sachs, an Anti-Israel Jewish New Zealander, and Nadia Abu-Shanab, from a Palestinian family, wrote an open letter to Lorde last year asking her to join the artistic boycott of Israel. Both activists are part of the radical BDS–Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement designed to economically drain and demonize the nation of Israel.
Pop and Rock performers have become weapons for the B.D.S movement, with former Pink Floyd Bassist & vocalist Roger Waters becoming the most outspoken Anti-Israel musician in the movement. During the Summer, a feud between British Alternative band Radiohead and Waters heated up, when Radiohead refused to cancel their concert after receiving pressure from Waters personally.
Many well-known figures over the past few months have voiced their support for Israel and their disgust with this newest way to embarrass Israel by B.D.S and other Anti-Israel radicals.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an Orthodox rabbi based in New Jersey, who was once a spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, placed a full-page ad in The Washington Post on December 31st, a week after Lorde made the decision. The ad stated: “While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights, she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin’s Russia, despite his support for Assad’s genocidal regime which has already claimed the lives of over 500,000 innocents, and Russia’s own endless litany of human rights abuses”.
The advert also criticized New Zealand, the country of Lorde’s birth, for its decision in December to vote in favor of a UN resolution, signed by 127 countries, that called for the US to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Boteach declared “21 is young to become a bigot”, a reference to Lorde’s age.
Radio superstar Howard Stern also defended Israel and attacked Lorde and anti-Semitism as this event unfolded, The Jewish Voice Reported. Stern on his Sirius XM show said: “She has no problem with Russia. The only place in the world where she can’t play is Israel. So, what do you think’s going on? What’s the one thing about Israel that’s different than all other places. There’s Jews there … I hope Lorde has a good time in Russia…anti-Semitism is on the rise. I’m so [expletive] sick of it”.
While the music industry has it’s share of Anti-Israel radicals, many in the business are strident defenders of Israel or against the message that B.D.S brings to the table. “All of this creates divisive energy,” Thom Yorke of Radiohead said in June in response to the pressure he was receiving from boycott groups. “You’re not bringing people together. You’re not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding… The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white”, Yorke continued.
Recently, a large group of over 30,000 people in the music and entertainment industry signed a letter denouncing the B.D.S movement, TJV reported.
“The boycott movement, while often painting itself as a movement for human rights, is actually a political movement ultimately aiming to extinguish the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. Ignoring the many flaws in the other countries on Lorde’s world tour (including the US, the UK, and Russia), the movement singled out Israel — and only Israel — for a boycott”, the denouncement stated.
“The boycott movement is certainly not encouraging real dialogue or a sense of understanding. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite. The boycott movement has come out as a strong opponent of real dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, even going so far as to denounce projects that work to bring young Israelis and Palestinians together through music”, the anti-boycott letter continued.
While some critics of the Israeli law claim it is a matter of free speech without fear of lawsuits, BDS is not looking to solve any issues between Palestinians and Israelis, they are interested in destroying the sovereign nation of Israel as evidenced by their rhetoric, and naive viewpoints.
By J. Pachefsky